Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory: RPG meets rhythm game

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Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory is the latest entry in a series that tends to do its own thing, confusing fan expectations as it goes. Instead of the proper next installment in the Kingdom Hearts series, Melody of Memory is a rhythm game that revisits some of the best music from Square Enix’s long-running Disney mashup. While your enjoyment of the game will almost entirely depend on how much you love the Kingdom Hearts soundtrack, there’s no denying that Melody of Memory accomplishes exactly what it sets out to do.

I played a demo of Kingdom Hearts: Memory of Melody, which will be available for free on PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch in the coming days. (The full game will debut on November 13 and will cost $60). The demo is pretty straightforward, with just a few songs and no story mode to speak of. However, it gave me a good idea of ​​what to expect from the gameplay, with three selectable difficulties and a look at how character building works.

Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory impressions

If you’ve ever played a rhythm game, the basics of Memory of Melody should be pretty straightforward. You take control of the usual Kingdom Hearts protagonists – Sora, Donald and Goofy – as they automatically advance through three lanes of scrolling enemies and obstacles. Your job is to time the button presses with the music for the three heroes to attack, jump, slide and use special abilities.

Like many rhythm games, the gameplay is simple in theory and complex in practice. On the PS4 controller, you use the L1, X, and R1 buttons to attack, the circle button to jump and glide, and the triangle button to activate special abilities. On Beginner difficulty, when enemies arrive one by one in each lane, power-ups have a lot of head start and most enemies go down in one hit, all you have to do is watch the pace and remember which buttons to press.

Move the difficulty up to Standard, however, and multiple enemies will swarm the three protagonists, while minibosses that take multiple hits to defeat will jump from lane to lane. Keeping track of three heroes, dozens of enemies, and trying to find jump points and bonuses under everything can feel like an extremely chaotic game of Simon. Proud mode further increases the difficulty.

Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory RPG Elements

What sets Melody of Memory apart from other rhythm games is that it’s not purely skill-based. As you complete levels, Sora, Donald, and Goofy will gain experience and level up. This increases their health, attack, defense, etc., which means enemies go down a little easier and missed signals aren’t as disastrous. While I doubt you could brute force the whole game this way, it’s at least a way to keep the sausage fingers among us engaged.

The big question, however, is whether you enjoy the music of the Kingdom Hearts series enough to play a rhythm game based on its music. (Remember – with three difficulty levels, you’ll probably listen to every track at least three times.) Every KH fan knows “Simple and Clean,” the series’ theme song, but how many individual-level tracks can you play? hum you casually? As I played bits of levels like Alice in Wonderland and Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, I found the music recognizable. But playing it did not fulfill any musical fantasy, as Guitar Hero or Fuser could.

Memory of Melody may not be what Kingdom Hearts fans expected to play next, but like most KH spinoffs, it will likely advance the story in a small but significant way. So far I can say the game is fun to play and has the potential for some depth, but you’ll have to really like the music that goes into it.

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